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Carloads of men harass women cyclists in inner north

By Jane Speechley - 28 March 2017 16

Car Low Angle View

A young Canberra woman has been abused and chased by a car full of men while riding her bicycle home from Civic, and there are suggestions it’s not the first time this group has harassed people in the area.

One of the best, and most commonly cited, benefits of living in Canberra is the that it is a safe city.

Like an oversized country town, we’re proudly and frequented described as a place where it’s safe to walk the streets at night.

This is why it’s very concerning to see any indication that suggests that might be changing.

Inner north resident Kirsty Dale has written on Facebook about an incident she experienced earlier this month in a post that has since been widely shared across the community.

We spoke with Ms Dale, who was shaken by the experience but otherwise not seriously hurt.

After a night out in town earlier in March, she was riding her bike home towards Turner when she was approached by a (possibly late model) shiny back sedan.

Inside the car were four or five young men who, Ms Dale said, seemed to be intoxicated.

Ms Dale said the men yelled lewd and sexual comments out to her from the car, including highlighting the fact that she was alone.

She said she responded by “sticking her finger up” at the men as she continued riding, a reaction that she admits was, “in hindsight, probably not the best decision because I was alone and quite vulnerable.

“But I’m sick of being harassed,” she said.

The car stopped at a red light at the next intersection, and it was here that the situation took a turn from offensive to seriously dangerous.

“They pulled up at a red light at the intersection … I slowed down to avoid passing them again,” said Ms Dale.

“It became obvious I was going to have to pass them, and as I came up to the car the back door opened. This started to scare me so I started riding faster and took the corner so quickly my bike nearly came out from under me and my bike lock flew out of the basket.

“The man started running after me on foot, yelling something along the lines of ‘I’m going to get you’. Luckily this was my neighbourhood, so I rode as fast as I could home with the car speeding along beside me and the occupants yelling, ‘You should be scared’ and ‘We’re literally going to rape you’.

“I was terrified and thought about going into another random front yard but ended up deciding to risk getting home. I actually fell off my bike at my gate, and have a huge bruise on my knee. As I was struggling to get in my gate and door, the car overshot my address but they kept yelling at me.

“I almost left my bike outside of my gate in my panic, but realised this would give away which apartment I live in.

Ms Dale said she was so scared they were going to come back that she went inside, turned off all the lights and called the friends she’d been out with to come and sit with her for a bit.

She reported the incident to police. ACT Policing has confirmed they’ve received the report and are investigating.

Alarmingly, Ms Dale said two of her friends have had similar encounters whilst riding their bikes home in the same area at night time.

On both occasions, the men had a black shiny sedan come up behind them and apparently try to hit them with an object that was described as being like “a police baton”.

At least one of these incidents has also been reported to the police.

Ms Dale said it wasn’t the first time she’d been harassed in the area, either.

Previously, while walking home from Civic to her university accommodation, she was followed by a black Holden Commodore.

“I bolted through [the block] and hid in the bushes for 10 minutes before continuing to the other side of campus,” Ms Dale said.

“Another time I was leaving [a club in Civic] by myself when a group of four older men started following me and yelling things like, ‘Hey girl in the blue dress, come back’. Luckily that time I ran into a friend that time and I was so thankful.

“I know a lot of friends who have experienced harassment but not many to the extent that I experienced on Friday night that I know of, apart from those two friends I mentioned above,” she said.

In 2016, there were 10,210 incidents of crime in Canberra, including 97 incident of sexual assault.

North Canberra had the second highest number of sexual assaults (22), behind Belconnen with 32 incidents.

Add in all kinds of assault, and North Canberra has the highest rate, with 198 incidents over the course of the year.

What do you think? Are you worried Canberra is becoming less safe? Have you heard about any other recent street harassment incidents?

What’s Your opinion?


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16 Responses to
Carloads of men harass women cyclists in inner north
Whitey 5:54 pm 30 Mar 17

I wish we had a lot more undercover cops roaming around to bust people like this.

ChrisinTurner 4:50 pm 30 Mar 17

What about the shots fired into a car at Canberra Hospital the other day? Nothing in the media.

dungfungus 7:24 pm 29 Mar 17

csdaly said :

dungfungus said :

It wouldn’t happen in America as a car load of hoodlums wouldn’t want to chance that a lady on a pushbike was packing a .38 and that is legal over there.

Gee, the US must have such a low crime rate. The only problem with this line of thought is, as we know, the “hoodlums” in the car would likely have even bigger guns, some legal and some illegal.

In which case why would they waste their time chasing their intended victims around?

csdaly 6:39 pm 29 Mar 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

This seems to be a symptom of problems with humanity in general, with a lack of basic respect being prominent among the newer generations. Are traditional values being eroded by indifference, a lack of enforcement by parents, teachers and the authorities or a changing social standard where disrespectful actions are treated as

It’s not a modern problem (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/201196912).

wildturkeycanoe said :

Maybe the deviants simply know that in the rare chance of their apprehension, they will be let off with a slap on the back of their hand.

Although, I can’t disagree with you there.

csdaly 6:33 pm 29 Mar 17

dungfungus said :

It wouldn’t happen in America as a car load of hoodlums wouldn’t want to chance that a lady on a pushbike was packing a .38 and that is legal over there.

Gee, the US must have such a low crime rate. The only problem with this line of thought is, as we know, the “hoodlums” in the car would likely have even bigger guns, some legal and some illegal.

rommeldog56 7:52 am 29 Mar 17

Maya123 said :

Terrible experience. I know it’s a bad moment and night, but if possible, attempt to get the number plate to assist police.

In any event people just have to accept that Canberra is not “Like an oversized country town” anymore. Its trying incredibly hard to be the “coolest capital” (according to the Chief Minister) and like a mini Sydney, Melbourne, etc.

Yes – ideally u should be able to walk home or ride your bike after dark. But the reality is that its often now not safe to do so. Better to get a bus, cab, or Uber.

dungfungus 6:40 pm 28 Mar 17

I am a Rabbit™ said :

dungfungus said :

Because of our leaders dropping the ball on law and order and our schools being unable to administer corporal punishment anymore this behaviour is able to exist and grow.

Because we all know that corporal punishment leads to better behavioral outcomes, right? I mean, those damned intellectuals with their studies aint know nothing ’bout the real world – we should go back to whipping people like the good old days. Why are we sending kids to school too?! They should be put to work in factories where they belong.

PS: National crime statistics have never been lower. The only two areas that has seen an aggregate increase since 2000 is drug abuse and identify. Crime such as car theft, robbery and break and enter are down 60-70%.

I got caned regularly during my school years and most other (males) did too.
None of us have ever been involved in any crimes and certainly no incidents as described in to OP.

It’s called discipline and it teaches respect.

PS: I don’t believe those lower crime statistics so how about a link?

And Australia doesn’t have any factories left.

Felix the Cat 5:23 pm 28 Mar 17

I am a Rabbit™ said :

dungfungus said :

Because of our leaders dropping the ball on law and order and our schools being unable to administer corporal punishment anymore this behaviour is able to exist and grow.

Because we all know that corporal punishment leads to better behavioral outcomes, right? I mean, those damned intellectuals with their studies aint know nothing ’bout the real world – we should go back to whipping people like the good old days. Why are we sending kids to school too?! They should be put to work in factories where they belong.

PS: National crime statistics have never been lower. The only two areas that has seen an aggregate increase since 2000 is drug abuse and identify. Crime such as car theft, robbery and break and enter are down 60-70%.

Got a cite for those stats? Not sure that it’s the case in Canberra, Alexander Maconochie Centre is overfull (though this may be because of the reasons mentioned by dungfungus )

ACT Government to expand overflow jail as Canberra’s Alexander Maconochie Centre prison again reaches capacity
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-21/act-to-expand-overflow-jail-as-prison-reaches-capacity/6636674

New prison centre full one month after opening as overcrowding crisis continues
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/new-prison-centre-full-one-month-after-opening-as-overcrowding-crisis-continues-20151221-glscmk.html

NSW prisons to see 1,400 extra beds, old jails re-opened under Government plan
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-10/nsw-prisons-to-see-1400-extra-beds-old-jails-re-opened/7712570

NSW Budget 2016: $3.8 billion for new jail capacity to cover surge in prison population
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-budget-2016-38-billion-for-new-jail-capacity-to-cover-surge-in-prison-population-20160616-gpkhd5.html

PaulM 3:31 pm 28 Mar 17

Why no description of these men? Could it be that simply describing these men might be the ‘R’ word? That it might possibly indicate what particular prophet they follow?

I am a Rabbit™ 3:09 pm 28 Mar 17

dungfungus said :

Because of our leaders dropping the ball on law and order and our schools being unable to administer corporal punishment anymore this behaviour is able to exist and grow.

Because we all know that corporal punishment leads to better behavioral outcomes, right? I mean, those damned intellectuals with their studies aint know nothing ’bout the real world – we should go back to whipping people like the good old days. Why are we sending kids to school too?! They should be put to work in factories where they belong.

PS: National crime statistics have never been lower. The only two areas that has seen an aggregate increase since 2000 is drug abuse and identify. Crime such as car theft, robbery and break and enter are down 60-70%.

bigred 11:38 am 28 Mar 17

I have absolutely no doubt this occured and that the perpetrators understand they are unlikely to be apprehended due to the level of policing effort devoted to basis law and order functions. People experiencing such an unfortunate event need to make a report to the police as soon as possible after it occurring to provide the data base with the information that there may just be a pattern occuring. I know it can be disheartening. Making such a report to a disinterested person, but it may just help.

dungfungus 10:33 am 28 Mar 17

wildturkeycanoe said :

This seems to be a symptom of problems with humanity in general, with a lack of basic respect being prominent among the newer generations. Are traditional values being eroded by indifference, a lack of enforcement by parents, teachers and the authorities or a changing social standard where disrespectful actions are treated as tolerable?
Maybe the deviants simply know that in the rare chance of their apprehension, they will be let off with a slap on the back of their hand.

Good comment.

Because of our leaders dropping the ball on law and order and our schools being unable to administer corporal punishment anymore this behaviour is able to exist and grow.

It is so bad it is becoming normal and this is very difficult to counter as are entrenched cultural traditions that have been allowed to manifest unchecked here because of political correctness.

It wouldn’t happen in America as a car load of hoodlums wouldn’t want to chance that a lady on a pushbike was packing a .38 and that is legal over there.

Serina Bird Huang (a 10:22 am 28 Mar 17

As a single woman who has just moved into that area, I find this report most concerning.

Maya123 10:07 am 28 Mar 17

Terrible experience. I know it’s a bad moment and night, but if possible, attempt to get the number plate to assist police.

(Waiting for an anti bike person here to mention that bikes don’t have number plates. Please don’t. It would be in very bad taste.)

wildturkeycanoe 7:39 am 28 Mar 17

This seems to be a symptom of problems with humanity in general, with a lack of basic respect being prominent among the newer generations. Are traditional values being eroded by indifference, a lack of enforcement by parents, teachers and the authorities or a changing social standard where disrespectful actions are treated as tolerable?
Maybe the deviants simply know that in the rare chance of their apprehension, they will be let off with a slap on the back of their hand.

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